"A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe." — Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, January 17, 2011

Guest Post: Marina Budhos (Tell Us We're Home)

Today I have Marina Budhos, author of Tell Us We're Home stopping by the blog! I think this is something that affects everyone, not just those living in the U.S.

How do you think that immigrants from around the world are changing the U.S. and those that live here?

It used to be that we thought of the suburbs as all-American. You know, the white-picket fence, the yellow school busses, moms picking us up at the bus stop, families knowing each other from generations back. But all that’s changed. Immigrants are everywhere now—not just in cities, but in suburbs. And they are all kinds of immigrants, from doctors to men who wash cars. For instance, in Fairfax County, VA, a suburban area just outside Washington, D.C., some of the school districts have more students who speak a foreign language, and whose parents were born elsewhere, than American-born families. In one part of Denver, CO, the school district has gone from being working class whites to over 60 percent Hispanic.

But of course, when you have so much change, and so much diversity with immigrants, there’s bound to be frictions. Some states have grown openly hostile to immigrants. In Arizona, there was a controversial law enacted, allowing law enforcement officers to stop anyone who might look suspiciously like an undocumented immigrant. IIn Long Island there was a rash of “Mexican jumping”, one terrible incident leading to the death of a Latino day laborer. But there are other places such as Cook County, outside Chicago, where they pride themselves in being a ‘mosaic’ suburb, made up of so many different cultures.

The suburb I portray—Meadowbrook—is just on the cusp of that change. Most of the immigrants live on the fringes, in apartment houses, since this is an expensive place to live, or the commute in to work there. And they are the underpinning of the town—they cut the lawns and hedges, or serve as nannies and maids—they’re the invisible people that make suburban life possible.

What I hope is that all this change is opening the eyes of American teenagers. That they can see there other ways to be, other languages, other experiences that can enrich theirs. That it shows them they are part of a global world.

But that means getting used to a lot of changes, right on their street, right in their schools.
You can find Marina Budhos here:
Here is the book trailer if you would like to know more about Tell Us We're Home.

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